Devil's Coach Horse (Ocypus olens)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Devil's Coach Horse.
Updated: 2/27/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Devil's Coach Horse earned its name partly for its wicked bite and partly for its environmental hardiness.
A seemingly simple, black body hides the calculating nature of of the Devil's Coach Horse. The long abdominal segments are slender and flexible. Its elytra (wing coverings) are dull with a matte finish. Strong jaws make short work of killing soft-bodied insects. This member of the Rove Beetle family can inflict a painful bite on an unsuspecting human thanks to these massive jaws.
The Devil's Coach Horse takes on an interesting posture when disturbed or threatened. It gives potential predators as well as reckless humans fair warning. The bendable abdomen rises and curls forward, like a scorpion's. Instead of a venomous stinger, the Devil's Coach Horse opens an internal gland that shoots out a yellowish foul-smelling fluid. This chemical deterrent is an effective way to divert attention from itself.
Devil's Coach Horses are not native to the United States and originated from Europe. Despite being exotic, they have comfortably established themselves in the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. They normally prey on snails and slugs, and can be found in low altitudes and moist areas such as in parks and gardens where regular watering occurs.